Category Archives: Products

Product Review: Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax and Enjoy Life Crunchy Rice

In the interest of full disclosure, please note that while I did not receive monetary compensation for this review, the manufacturer did provide me with product samples.

The folks from Enjoy Life Foods (love their allergen-free chocolate chips!) contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying some of their products. As you may already know, all Enjoy Life products are free of the eight most common allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish or shellfish (which is great for those of us with food allergies/sensitivities). Perky’s Nutty Flax and Perky’s Nutty Rice are now a part of the Enjoy Life brand, and so the company has rebranded the cereals under new names. So if you’re already a Perky’s Nutty Rice or Nutty Flax person you will be pleased to know that they haven’t gone away, it’s just now they’re called Enjoy Life Crunchy Rice and Enjoy Life Crunch Flax.

Anyway, I happily accepted the samples—I mean, with the way we go through cereal in this house I’d be crazy not to! And I guess the samples arrived just in time, because Zoe and Ayden tore through those boxes of cereal in NO TIME. In fact, I didn’t even get to try them. I had to go out and buy them myself just so I could get to the review part.

I’m so glad I did, because the cereals are both really good. They’re not very sweet, which I like a lot; I actually like the taste of grains, so when I find something that is not cloyingly sweet, it makes me happy.  They stay crunchy in milk for a long time, something that surprised me because of the fact that the cereal is in small pieces. And my goodness, do I ever hate when ready-to-eat cereal gets mushy. It’s just gross.  Anyway, the cereal also lends itself well to add-ins like fresh fruit: bananas and blueberries were Zoe’s favorite. These kind of reminded me of Grape Nuts, but the taste of the Nutty Rice and Nutty Flax is better…and they don’t hurt my sensitive teeth when I bite into them (Bonus!). I plan on using the cereal for other applications, to see how they function as bread crumbs, or maybe even a pie crust. So I guess there will be even more to talk about with regards to these products in the future!

The bottom line here is that we all really liked both the Crunchy Rice and Crunchy Flax, and we will definitely continue buying them. My local health food store has been running a sale on them, so I’ll be stocking up this week. To find out more about the products, and to find store locations, visit them at www.enjoylifefoods.com.

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A Passion for Pomegranate

I must have been about 8 or 9 years old when my dad handed me what I thought was a pretty weird-looking piece of fruit. I asked him what it was; and he casually replied, “It’s a Chinese apple. Wanna try it?” I watched as my father pried the piece of fruit with the little reddish purple pellets open, and I asked, “How do you eat those things? Are you supposed to eat THE SEEDS?!” Note: whenever a child thinks she is about to ingest seeds, images of a tree growing inside her instantly trigger a sense of terror/disgust. Dad dropped a few bits of fruit into my hand, and I nervously took a bite.

I have been hooked on pomegranates ever since.

I wait every year for them to come into season, and I scoop ‘em up by the bunch at my local market. The cashiers always look at them with some skepticism, and ask me the usual questions: how do you eat it? Aren’t they a pain in the neck to open? Don’t they stain your fingers, clothes, and anything they happen to land on? Well, they may be a challenge to open; and they may stain my fingers and clothing (sometimes); but they are so tasty, with that little burst of tartness that explodes when you bite into one of those little red gems.

Lately, when I can’t get pomegranates at the supermarket, I’ve had to make do with the occasional pomegranate martini. Which are delicious, by the way—those of you that can partake in alcoholic beverages of that variety may want to give it a try. But I digress.

I’ve purchased a few types of pomegranate juice at the health food store, but the flavor seems a bit, well, off. Sort of muddy, I guess. When the folks over at POM Wonderful offered to send me some of their juice to try, I jumped on the chance. I’d seen it at Publix, but was reluctant to pick it up because it was more expensive than the other brands I had tried, and I didn’t want to spend the money on it, only to be disappointed later (Hey, we’re living in some tough economic times, and I’m a bit of a high-maintenance gal—I try to save a buck where I can so that I can spend more money on shoes. Or makeup). I figured why not? I don’t have anything to lose with free juice, right?

So, the POM people came through, and a case of the stuff arrived at my house, along with lots of interesting literature about the health benefits of pomegranate juice; additionally, there was some info about medical research and POM 100% pomegranate juice. In the studies cited, regular consumption was found to improve cardiovascular, prostate, and erectile health. Not only that, but it is an antioxidant powerhouse, surpassing red wine, grape juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, green tea, vitamin C, and vitamin E in its antioxidant punch. More information about the research studies can be found on POM’s website. It all sounded good, but how did it taste?

We flew through the case; and Flamenco Dad, Zoe, and I loved it. The flavor was spot on: tart, not too sweet, and fresh-tasting. It didn’t have that muddy, dull flavor of some of the others pomegranate juices I had tried in the past. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I do. Now I’m buying it every week to store in my fridge, and I drink it once every day—and I am working it into my grocery budget.

*Note: I do not receive monetary compensation for product reviews—I’m just here to share my opinions about products both good and bad.

Say That Again?

Gluten-free is all over the place lately. Just the other day, I walked into my supermarket, and found that the store now has an entire section of gluten-free products. I was so excited, I was near tears (mind you, not all the products were casein-free, but I call it progress nonetheless). My head nearly exploded when I read that Chex Products is expanding their selection of GF products..Corn Chex, anyone?

Joy!

To top it all off, I read that Betty Crocker (yes, that Betty Crocker) is slated to begin releasing GF baking mixes. Now, I haven’t gotten confirmation that the products are CF as well (I’ll shoot the company an email today to double-check); so I’ll put off celebrating just yet. However, if I find out the products are GF/CF I may have to give them a try. Any internets out there know if the mixes are GF/CF? Holla at me and let me know.

Rediscovering a Childhood Favorite

I took Zoe and Ayden to Barnes and Noble (a.k.a my second home) to spend some of their Christmas booty, and we let out a collective cheer when we found this in the music and media section of the store:

schoolhouse-rock

Like many other children of the 70s, I sang along to my Schoolhouse Rock favorites every Saturday morning. Now in my late 30s (cough, cough), I still remember many of my favorites. Disney released this DVD, which–as the cover indicates–includes every SR song ever created. My kids and I have been singing ever since picking up this little gem. And it does my heart good to hear my kids singing “Interplanet Janet,” “I’m Just a Bill,” and “Conjunction Junction.”

All That, and a Bag of Chips

Hi, my name is Flamenco Mom, and I am a snacker.

I reserve room for 2 snacks each day; I usually have one sweet snack and one savory one. And one of my favorite things to snack on is plantain chips. Fried plantains (both the sweet and savory kind) are a staple in Puerto Rican households, and they are seen in the regional cuisine of many Caribbean countries.

While at the Latin0 supermarket, I picked up a few bags of Chifles Plantain Chips, as well as Chifles Cassava Chips.  Chifles Chips (pronounced ‘CHIEF-less’) makes a delicious, crispy chip that is not only good, but also gluten-free. Not only that, but they are certified kosher and low in sodium. The cassava chips are like a potato chip, but with an even crispier texture—oh, do I love that crunchy goodness. And the plantain chips are awesome; the company makes a garlic variety that trumps any sour-cream-and-onion or salt-and-vinegar chip I’ve ever eaten (those used to be my favorites before we went on this GFCF journey).

I checked the company’s website, and I found that Chifles Chips are available at many retailers in the South. A Tampa Bay company, they are expanding throughout the U.S.; so keep an eye out for them, they may be coming to a store near you.

Bob’s GF Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I admit it: I’ve been very lazy in the kitchen these days. I’m on the lookout for shortcuts, tricks, and ways to get good results in the kitchen with not-too-much effort. I picked up a package of Bob’s Red Mill GF Cinnamon Raisin Bread Mix, and thought I’d give it a shot. This is a yeast bread, so those of you that are avoiding yeast will want to steer clear of this one. I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of the bread as it came out of the oven. . . it looked liked cinnamon raisin bread should look. I did not use the recommended 9X5 loaf pan (have I mentioned that I burned something in my loaf pan a while back? Long story, I’ll get to it another day), so I opted for an 8X8 pan instead.

Here are my two main gripes about how this bread turned out. First of all, it is just not sweet enough. I don’t like when bread like this is overly sweet, but this was in serious need of some sweetness. This bread was crying out for some jelly, if for no other reason than to add some much needed sugar. Also, the bread has a pretty noticeable saltiness to it. I’m not sure what is causing it. My guess is it have something to do with the yeast, but I could be wrong about that. I will give credit where it’s due: the texture is quite good, and I was glad the bread didn’t have an overwhelming garbanzo bean taste like some other bread mixes I’ve tried. I have a hard time with breads that use liberal amounts of garbanzo or fava bean flours. To me they give baked goods an odd aftertaste. Fortunately, the folks at Bob’s left that out, opting for a different flour mix.

So would I buy this again? Maybe. The kids liked it, though even they asked me to pass the jelly.

Laptop Leftovers

Remember this post I wrote a while back about the Zoe’s lunchbox? Well, I love the darn thing so much I bought one for Ayden and one for myself. Of course we each have a different color (to prevent the inevitable fights over which lunchbox belongs to which person); and since red is my favorite color, I purchased this lovely lunchbox in black with red inserts. Oh, and the carrying case? Red and black…too cute!

I’m trying to adhere to gluten and casein free as much as possible. It’s not too difficult, since I already prepare all Zoe’s food; the only time I find myself in a pinch is when I don’t plan ahead. So I’m now being more diligent about doing just that.

Today I had some leftover Pineapple Fried Rice (I went out for Thai food after class last night), salad greens with dressing, some spicy peanuts, and some fresh blueberries. It was delicious, satisfying, and since everything was in moderate portions I felt like I was doing my body good. I’m planning to use this more often; especially on days when I’ll be in class till late in the evening. Getting my learnin’ on makes me hungry; and after sitting in class for six hours I’m usually ready to chew on my textbooks. That could get expensive.